First Spinning Class? Here’s What To Expect

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By Natalie Martin

You’ve probably seen them at the gym, sweaty cyclists looking happy as they push themselves to their limits.

Spinning classes and the feelings of elation participants often feel, are a mystery unless you’ve pedaled your way up hill on a spin bike.

If you are interested in joining a spinning class but don’t know what to expect, don’t worry we’ve got you covered.


Why Choose a Spinning Class?


A spin bike can provide you with a surprisingly grueling workout, while being easy on your joints. This makes spinning ideal for people with arthritis or are recovering from knee or hip injuries.

Since the intensity level of a spin class changes, it’s a terrific way for you to get a cardio workout in. This also makes spinning an excellent choice for strength training since it targets the muscles in your core, along with your glutes, thighs and hamstrings.

Studies have even shown that regular workouts on spin bikes can help you lose weight, and keep it off.

Spin classes are also fun. The combination of music, high energy and sense of community among participates provide plenty of motivation so you can reach your fitness goals.

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What You Need to Know


The most important thing to remember before any spin class is to drink plenty of water. Hydration is crucial in a spin class, and can prevent serious health problems.

What should you wear?

Loose fitting clothing is usually best to wear for your first spinning class. You will also want the fabric to be breathable, and come with moisture wicking. You will sweat a lot in a spinning class, and if you don’t you are not “giving it everything you have.”

When you are just starting out on a spin bike, regular athletic shoes are usually fine to wear. Some gyms do require members to wear cycling shoes on their spin bikes. The best advice is to ask before you sign up for a spinning class.

What should you bring?

The most important item to bring to a spinning class is a water bottle. You will need it at some point during the class. Staying hydrated is also crucial for your overall health.

A towel might also be handy, you will sweat. Even though the best spin bikes track number of calories burned, not all monitor heart rate. If this metric is important, you might want to wear one during class.

Get to class early.

You will want to get to the spin class 10 to 15 minutes early. These classes are popular and fill up quickly.

Getting there early also helps to ensure that you can claim a spin bike up front. While this might be the last thing that you want to do, it is important for you to be able to see the instructor since it is your first spinning class.

If you have any preexisting injuries or health concerns, it is also the perfect time for you to inform your instructor. Best of all, the extra time before the class starts lets you get comfortable with the spin bike.

Set up the spin bike.

Setting up a spin bike is relatively simple, and it will help you stay a little more comfortable during class.

The seat height should be even with your hips, and the handles positioned to allow for a slight bend in your elbows. This will allow you to sit comfortably, without straining your back.

Your feet should also strap comfortably onto the pedals.

Know the lingo.

While spin classes do have their own lingo, it’s not hard to learn. Knowing the basics ahead of time will make your first spinning class go a little easier. Throughout the 60 minute workout, the instructor will call out various numbers that refer to specific positions. The three basic positions and their corresponding numbers are,

  • Position 1 – hands placed on the center of the bar.
  • Position 2 – hands placed on either side of the bar.
  • Position 3 – called when standing and pedaling.

For most of the spinning class your hands will be in position 2, usually only switching when changing the intensity level.

Have good posture.

Good posture is important on a spin bike if you want to get the best results. It also affects your comfort and health.

Even though you might feel like slumping over the handlebars, you want to keep your shoulders down and pulled back. Focus on keeping your stomach muscles taut to maximize the effects on your core. You also what to keep your entire foot flat on the pedals, not only your toes.

The instructor should also be able to provide additional pointers on posture.

Set your own pace.

One of the best aspects of a spinning class is that you can set your own pace. This is always an advantage when you are just starting out.

If you start to feel fatigued during the 60 minute session this is normal, especially if it is your first time. Go ahead and slow down. You can even adjust the resistance down to zero. The most important thing to remember is to keep pedaling.

Stopping suddenly can cause sudden and intense feelings of dizziness and leave you lightheaded. Your body needs time to gradually slow down.

It’s not uncommon for beginners to feel “saddle sore”. The seats on spin bikes aren’t designed with maximum comfort in mind. While your body will get used to it after a few classes, leaning forward during pedaling can help relieve some of the pressure.

Instructors are fun.

Many people are surprised at how fun spinning classes are, and this is usually due to the instructor.

Since spin classes provide a unique workout, all recognized instructors are certified.

They are trained to help people forget they’re pedaling on a stationary bike indoors. Their primary goal is to keep you completely engaged throughout the hour long session.

You should expect to hear loud heart-pumping music, along with lots of yelling and encouragement from the instructor. Fist bumps are also common after climbing a hill. Don’t be surprised if you see people waving their towels in the air. Another reason why you might want to bring a sweat towel to class.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Climb that Hill


Even though spin bikes are stationary, you can still “climb hills”. You should also expect to climb plenty in a top rated spinning class. This simply refers to the intensity level and resistance settings.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself, even if it is your first spinning class. Your muscles will be fully engaged, and you should expect to get an amazing workout. Don’t be surprised if at the end of the workout you’ve discovered that it was fun.

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